Photography by Andrea Wilson
BIRMINGHAM, AL (June 21, 2013) -- There were no big surprises Friday in preliminary qualifying for this weekend’s Triumph Superbike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park. Monster Energy Yamaha’s Josh Hayes led the way with a time of 1:25.889 on his factory R1 Superbike. Series points leader Martin Cardenas kept Hayes in sight with a solid lap at 1:25.984. Those two were the only riders in the 1:25 bracket during a session held in hot and humid conditions.
After Hayes and Cardenas came the Jordan Suzuki pair of Roger Hayden (1:26.026) and Danny Eslick (1:26.851). Yamaha’s Josh Herrin rounded out the top five Friday with a time of 1:27.296.
Hayes displayed his typical modesty in the post-qualifying press conference.
“I was a little surprised I was fastest today,” Hayes said. “I didn’t feel like I was getting around the racetrack that well. I feel pretty good about our setup. We’re going to continue to see if we can make a few improvements. We’ll see if we can make the bike easier to ride without sacrificing the speed we have.”
Hayden topped the much cooler morning session with Hayes second, but Hayes found a better combination once the track heated up in the afternoon.
“Rog, Larry and Martin are all riding pretty good,” Hayes continued. “It started off a little rough. I made a few mistakes and got my head in the wrong place. I didn’t feel very sharp out there so I felt like I couldn’t push real hard. I just rode super steady and worked on being efficient. Hopefully I’ll get a good night’s sleep and hit the reset button for tomorrow and feel a little more racy. This is a tough racetrack on a Superbike. Last year I think I set the bar a little bit high, but I think I’ll be there tomorrow. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
Hayes is a two-time Superbike winner here. He swept last year’s Barber Superbike races.
This track was also the site of Cardenas’ first AMA Superbike win in 2011 on a partially wet track.
“I feel good,” Cardenas said in his concise fashion. “Qualifying was much better than the first practice. We made some changes to the bike and it seems to work much better. I think everybody’s going to be quicker tomorrow. I think for everybody it’s a little bit slick on the rear. We’re spinning a little bit. It’s because of the heat.”
Cardenas said the win from a few years ago doesn’t necessarily give him extra confidence.
“It was in the wet,” he said. “But I usually go good here. Last year I didn’t perform as well as I did in the past, but I like this track. I like the layout and hope I’ll be able to do well this weekend.”
The only other former Barber Superbike winner in the field is Aaron Yates. Yates, who had input on the design of the circuit, won the inaugural AMA Superbike race at the track in 2003. Yates qualified 10th on the Team Amsoil EBR 1190RS.
Cameron Beaubier was fastest in Daytona SportBike qualifying, turning a 1:27.609 on his Yamaha Extended Service R6.That was over 6-10ths faster than Jason DiSalvo (1:28.226) on the Latus Motors Racing Triumph. James Rispoli (1:28.589) was third on the National Guard/Celtic Racing Suzuki.
AMA Pro Superbike Qualifying 1 – Barber Motorsports Park, June 21, 2013
1 1 Josh Hayes Gulfport, MS Yamaha R1 1:25.889
2 36 Martin Cardenas Medellin, Colombia Suzuki GSX-R1000 1:25.984
3 54 Roger Hayden Owensboro, KY Suzuki GSX-R1000 1:26.026
4 23 Danny Eslick Broken Arrow, OK Suzuki GSX-R1000 1:26.851
5 2 Josh Herrin Dublin, GA Yamaha R1 1:27.296
6 72 Larry Pegram Hebron, OH Yamaha R1 1:27.307
7 11 Chris Fillmore Oxford, MI KTM RC8R 1:27.381
8 25 David Anthony Murrieta, CA Suzuki GSX-R1000 1:27.537
9 44 Taylor Knapp Lapeer, MI KTM RC8R 1:27.735
10 20 Aaron Yates Milledgeville, GA EBR 1190RS 1:27.842